Wooden Gem

Wooden Gem

by Raelik

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content

Read the bloody story tags. All of them. Only warning. 

Freya presents Chester with a choice: die as he was destined or be her champion and evangelist. Chester chooses life then embarks on an adventure to establish himself in a new life. 

Join Chester as he explores his new magical realm, its people, its magic, and the new body Freya has foisted on him.

This is a story about the family we find for ourselves and embrace to face the dangers of a hostile world and how we are better for them.

Fair warning, this work is a first draft that I've put through Grammarly so expect me to add and change the story over time. I'll mention any significant changes in the notes of the latest chapters or here. If you spot a flaw, point it out, I'll address it. Same with any questions you may have, they will be answered, whether you find it on the first or last chapter, or the day the chapter comes out, or a year later.

Generally, expect about two weeks between chapters. Sometimes I'm faster, sometimes much slower. Work often demands 14 and 15 hr days.

The first rewrite is currently at Chapter 27.

Book one (ends Chapter 34) I intend to leave most of it alone as far as development goes. I'm improving the grammar and characterization etc as best I can but the story will stay the same.

Book two (ends Chapter 71) will eventually undergo a large developmental edit as it's a much weaker book overall and lacks a good impetus (the stuck in dungeon reviews are somewhat accurate here in their view of the disconnect to outside.) I do intend to end in the same place. It just needs work and especially in the reduction effort. So, please bear with me.

Book three is currently being written. Albeit slowly.

Cheers.

Raelik.

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Raelik

Raelik

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1 and 2 Moose! ago
Chapter 3 Choices, Chester, choices. ago
Chapter 4 Preparation and Gifts.  ago
Chapter 5 Moving plants and moving out. ago
Chapter 6 Bramble Bush ago
Chapter 7 Ironwood ago
Chapter 8 Ashley ago
Chapter 9 Harvest ago
Chapter 10 Wake ago
Chapter 11 Amber ago
Chapter 12 Suspicious ago
Chapter 13 Patrol ago
Chapter 14 How Rumors Start ago
Chapter 15 Aftermath ago
Chapter 16 Caldur ago
Chapter 17 listening ago
Chapter 18 Rainy Day Heart to Heart ago
Chapter 19 Abbess Sholer ago
Chapter 20 Raspberry Brandy ago
Chapter 21 Rites ago
Chapter 22 Standing in the rain. ago
Chapter 23 Kanversation. ago
Chapter 24 A proposal ago
Chapter 25 Greenwood Lions ago
Chapter 26 Rodents and Adoption ago
Chapter 27 Frigg’n Freya. ago
Chapter 28 Bad basket ago
Chapter 29 Thump ago
Chapter 30 Ambush ago
Chapter 31 Hide! ago
Chapter 32 FUBAR ago
Chapter 33 The Safe-Zone. *NSFW scene* ago
Chapter 34 Descent ago
Chapter 35, Stace 1: A reflection in snow. ago
Chapter 36 A Class ago
Chapter 37 Preparation ago
Chapter 38 Chalkboard sounds ago
Chapter 39 Blasted Skeletons and Wooden Gear ago
Chapter 40, Stace 2: Transformations ago
Chapter 41 Falling Water  ago
Chapter 42 Difficulty Breathing  ago
Chapter 43 Sideways.  ago
Chapter 44 Rat with a side of snow ago
Chapter 45 Odors ago
Chapter 46 Stace 3: Inheritance ago
Chapter 47 Warm water ago
Chapter 48 Spiders ago
Chapter 49 Waist Deep ago
Chapter 50 Lynn ago
Chapter 51 Stace 4: Cats ago
Chapter 52 Clutter ago
Chapter 53 Putting the Laughter in Slaughter ago
Chapter 54 Einherjar ago
Chapter 55 Stace: 5 A Hunter's Shame ago
Chapter 56 I don't think I can beanstalk my way out of this one, Jack ago
Chapter 57 Life with the People ago
Chapter 58 A way out ago
Chapter 59 A Pier Out ago
Chapter 60 Contemplating Murder ago
Chapter 61 Hammer, meet nail. ago
Chapter 62 Blood for the War Goddess. ago
Chapter 63 All that you are ago
Chapter 64 Chakram ago
Chapter 65 Squirreled Away: Stace/Chess ago
Chapter 66 Old friend ago
Chapter 67 Zucchini ago
Chapter 68 Gramps might know best ago
Chapter 69 Getting work done ago
Chapter 70 Perched on the Roof ago
Chapter 71 Outlook ago
Chapter 72 First Step Village ago
Chapter 73 Bedfurst ago
Chapter 74 Bushwacked  ago
Chapter 75 Thunder and lightning ago
Chapter 76 Patrols ago

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Tana Nari
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Surprisingly engrossing little isekai.

Reviewed at: Chapter 17 listening

The story of a crude-talking Canadian mechanic who ends up dead via high speed moose collision (don't laugh, happens to something like a hundred people per year in North America) finding himself transformed into a tig 'ol bittied elf chick (go ahead and laugh at that part). With copious music references sprinked everywhere. Most of it being from the 70s.)

Don't take it too seriously, because it sure as hell doesn't take itself seriously. The story is an obvious comedy, if one with dark aspects. Though, personally, I could have done with the whole menstrual cycle being less of a conversation piece. As running gags go, it was old long before this story did it.

Surprisingly, even with that sort of a setup, it puts in about fifty times more actual effort than most isekai. The situation makes sense, the Random Omnipotent Plot Device has an actual motive, one that is understandable and sets up *goals* to the setting. Even if those goals are slow in being pursued.

 

 

The other characters (at least, the 'good guys') feel dynamic and alive- this author excels at character interplay and banter- even if thus far we haven't seen much exploration into their characters.

We have the MC. The rescued orphan (why is that such a popular trope?). And a few soldiers acting as soldiers do, and doing so with such fluidity that I suspect the author is basing them off people he's known for years.

If there was an actual *villain* involved, rather than just a bunch of random encounter bandits (again, every isekai, it's always bandits), the story would be so much stronger.

And therein lies the main problem of the story: there is no plot so far. 17 chapters in, and the only problems have been growing accustomed to the magic system and some random bandits. The MC doesn't have any plans, and the goals are too nebulous to hold a story on ther own. So it's effectively a slice-of-life at this point.

Even so, it's getting higher than average marks from me because, well, the characters are that damn engaging. It could work as a Slice of Life with a few tweaks. 

Grammar is solid, with but a small number of typos and a smooth (if impolite at times) use of language.

Style is a little weaker; the author needs to work on such things as truncated sentences and the use of commas and semicolons. A little nit-picky, perhaps, but that's what I do when there's no glaring errors to discuss. This author even manages to keep the adverbs to a minimum.

In short: if gender-bending comedy routines don't freak you out, and you are happy with a story being less 'rollercoaster' and more 'pleasant day at the lake with a buddy, some fishing poles, and a six pack', this is an excellent pick.

msng
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Familiar Genre with Interesting and Novel Elements

Reviewed at: Chapter 56, Stace 5 A Hunter's Shame

Short review is that I like this story a lot and have binged all the available chapter over the last few days. This is a gender bender story, but that is just one minor aspect of it. It is also a highly absorbing transmigration story that has a good combination of both novel and familiar elements with an interesting twist. I hope you read and enjoy it as much as I do.

 

Longer version:

Story and Characters

I like the story and how it progresses. It has a nice mix of familiar and novel elements that kept me entertained and reading more. The isekai/transmigration process is an example of how it mixes familiar tropes with novel elements to keep it interesting.

The main character is also a strength of this story. Not a perfect person who always does the right thing, but also not a person who is so frustrating that you just want to scream at them. A thoughtful and three-dimensional character, who even if you do not always agree with his actions, you can understand the logic of where it is coming from. His abilities and the whole LitRPG system are also sufficiently different from most others to be novel, while still remaining interesting and not too complicated to understand.

I also like the side characters. These are characters with their own motivations and opinions. Their actions add additional depth to their character without being inconsistent with the way they have been previously been portrayed. It does not suddenly change the character’s personality and actions to suit the plot, but allows for more complex figures to provide more interesting detail to the story. I particularly enjoy how one of them changes and grows as a result of her experiences.

 

Style and Grammar

Good. There are a few minor errors, but most of them seem to have been found and mentioned in the comments and corrected by the author. Being willing to read and act on these comments meant I gave the book an extra star on the style score. And as far as I can tell, the author seems to have noted and responded to every comment where someone has spotted an error (or what they thought was an error).

 

Hope this helps.

AdirianSoan
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Style:

Relaxed pacing, with an emphasis on character development over combat.  The RPG elements are subdued, and make sense within the context of the universe.  My impression is that the Gender Bender element of the story is, at least in part, a way for the author to write a female MC, as a male author, without getting caught up in basic errors or characterization issues, as after a chapter or so it basically stops mattering.  Same thing with the isekai/portal fantasy element, which replaces the "Farmer from nowhere" perspective character traditional to fantasy as a way of introducing the world to the reader, and otherwise so far hasn't mattered that much.  Basically, I find the way these elements are used in the story pleasing, serving a purpose without becoming the central focus.

Story:

So far, my impression is that there isn't a Story, just a story; the Slice of Life element is strong here.  Things happen, but the central character isn't the center of the universe, and that works.  After reading fantasy for over twenty years, personally I'm over the world revolving around the character, and this satisfies the itch for a story that is about living in a fantasy universe, as opposed to overturning it.  I ding half a star here because there is a plotline, my memory of which is now reduced to "There was another plot previous to the one we're in now"; I feel like I'm going to need to either reread the previous chapters when we get back to that story, or a "Previously in Wooden Gem" rehash to remember what was going on previously.

Grammar:

I haven't noticed the grammar, which is basically the highest praise I can give here.

Character:

Characters are reasonably well distinguished, but not perfectly; I'd say they're at their most unique when they're first introduced, and then gradually shift to a kind of universal neutral author's voice.

Elgore
Overall

Interesting premise, but deviates afterwards

Reviewed at: Chapter 44 Interesting 

The story has an interesting premise and the first volume was well done, albeit something of a slice of life as the MC didn't have a real driving motive. This was fine as there was a good mix of action, tension, interesting characters, decent worldbuilding and okay grammar. The LitRpg system was interesting but wasn't a huge focus. I found the most enjoyment from this arc from characters interacting with the MC as well as watching the MC try to adapt to this new environment and attempt to get stable footing.

Continuing from the first volume, the MC is 

stuck in a dungeon with her adoptive daughter and an agent of the church after running away from the slavers. 

This arc continues for at least half the length of the first volume. The issue with this development is that the antagonists from the previous arc are shoved aside (understandably). Unfortunately, these antagonists were a major source of tension in the previous volume and helped rectify the issue with the MC having no real future plans or concrete goals. The new issue/antagonist

(Trying to get out of the dungeon)

is hardly a point of tension and the story suffers for it. In exchange, the author begins to focus very heavily on the LitRpg aspect (crafting and leveling) which wasn't one of the strengths of the first volume. Due to the MC's situation, there's a limited number of characters around her and thus the second volume also lacks the interesting character interactions in comparison to the first volume. Instead, it focuses primarily on Ashely and Lynn, and I honestly don't really think that they're very interesting. (Ashely kind of feels like she's a template for a bogstandard young weak-to-strong MC and Lynn isn't really that likeable)

It really just felt like the first and second volumes had completely different focuses and I stopped reading when it didn't seem that the focus would shift back within the remaining chapters. It's a decent novel though and I'll probably revisit when there's more chapters.

Reigsta Di Raizel
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This story gave me a good feeling when I readed it. It was a subtle feeling that it would be a good story when I readed the first chapter. 

Story

The first chapter was really good for to start with the story. That some curse words could also be used for other things than only to curse was a good twist of some mudane things that you use or say. The flow of the chapters after the first chapter was good and logical. There where no major holes in the flow of the story and that is good for readning experience. Something extra that moose collision did me think about truck -kun in isekai story to get the main character to another world.

Characters

First thing first they are not hollow characters so far I could get from them. They feel like living and breathing people, no robot like people that are there just to be and no ohter thing than that. The main character is a good developed person that is not just your run of the mill kind off main character without any depht in it. That and I kind of like it how she handels her problems.

World

I haved seen much of it just that the main character has been and still is in a very large forest. The only thing we know that it is like the middle ages of Europe or something like that with magic.

Grammar

There is not much to say about it because I haven't found any grammar mistake in it. I will say I am not so good at finding grammar mistakes in a text so I can not say alot about this topic.

I have still some chapters to go before I am up to date with the latest chapter. If you don't know if you will like the sorty or not try it out yourself because only you know if you like it or not.

therealseb
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Review written as of ch 37, I'm really enjoying it!

The overall score is how much I enjoy it, with the individual ones what I think they deserve.

Style is really good, the author isn't scared of killing off characters who can die, it doesn't feel like mc has insane plot armor. The world isn't the most fleshed out, it's often hard to perfectly imagine the surroundings

Story is handled very well. The premise isn't unique, but the direction it's going in is great. I love what the author does with side characters. The magic is unique, but I'm not sure what the difference between mages and non mages is

Grammar is decent, definitely better than most stories on rr. I cant pinpoint exactly why, but the dialogue sometimes feels stilted, but again, still way better than most stories on rr.

Characters are all great. Pretty well fleshed out. Really like the mc And her kid. I hate Lynn, and I'm sad than hank died, but i think it works really well for the sake of the story. Although there was a ton of potential for the two gay friends 

How have I not gotten to 200 words yet

 

helix_jordan
Overall

A good story that I'm glad I pushed through the first few chapters to understand the tone the story.  And the only difficulty I had with the first chapters was a miss guided thought, "god, another person throwing song lyrics and such to force nostalgia to carry the story" it quickly became apparently that wasn't what happened. 

Author does an amazing job of using story telling conventions well and seamlessly.  Character decision making and thought processes are complete without a being long winded. Nice balance of naration points of view.  The magic system different and fun, if a bit confusing at first. Nobody is a complete idiot and nobody seems OP just a little lucky (no feeling of plot armor).

Only complaint is I devoured the current 60 some chapters in 3 days and now I'll become a strung out junkie waiting for my next fix.

quicksilv
Overall

Love the story has a fun crafting component to it and i love how they are developing their skills so far

It is currently picking up in the story after a lot of learning/world building during the previous arc

 

I look forward to reading more and seeing how the characters develop in their new environment

todd
Overall

I tend to shy away from gender benders, since the few that I've run into have tended to be rather fetishistic. So, I was little surprised that this story treats it as just a highly unexpected change when brought back to life and thrown into a new world. The system and skills are interesting, with a set of abilities that aren't explicitly combat focused, but hardly leave the protagonist defenseless. The characters are so far well-written, though it's still early and only a few have been introduced. The shift from man to woman isn't run into the ground and largely slides to the background as they deal with more pressing matters, like staying alive.

Overall, despite there only being 18 chapters, I'm already waiting for the next release. The world draws you in quickly and I'm more than a little curious to see a modern man make their way as a woman in a medieval age. With little to no spelling errors breaking you out of the immersion and an expansive setting to fill in, I look forward to seeing what the author makes of the world.

Trodgosh
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Rename: Stuck in Dungeon

Reviewed at: Chapter 58 A way out

The story starts out strong. Canadian male with lots of life experiene from computers to mechanics to survival and has a job as one of those badasses that goes out in winter storms to get stuff done.

Plops down on a new world.. Funny things happen, and he's a chick now (with grotescuely large brests that barely  come up later.. frankly I think she should have a C at most because of how little they matter.. eh.)

Few interactions, things are spicing up.. then BAM. In a dungeon with 2 other characters for like... the rest of the story. I don't consider this a sploiler, more a warning. once you get to like chapter 15-20 you can allllllmost skip the next 30 or so chapters.

I'll sum up all you need to know real fast in a spoiler

Meets a beaver-kin. Basically ignores her 'daughter'. Gives way too much information to her 'enemy'. Lots of irrelevant fights. Passes out constantly. No plants or anything, so she's basically the group backpack. Everyone loves her or at least thinks she is amazing... for literally no reason. Finally escapes, but not really. She hasn't had a period or a bath for like.. a year. Or enough food.. or enough growing... she just got her fist moonblood when she arrived, right? so she's basically a 13 y/o mother who treats her allies like trash and doesn't poop.

Style - Decent. The world needs much more flushing out, but the game-lit stuff is good.

Grammar - Mostly fantastic. Either takes edits seriously, or already has a good grip.

Story - Like I said.. 10 or so chapters of growth, followed by 30 chapters of nonsense.

Character - Most of the main characters are kinda flat. The random side story that is plopped in has more depth than the main plot.

I'll keep reading because I want to see what happens when she gets to civilization. I am just super sceptical that it may ever happen at this point. As for the tags? Not nearly dark enough for those to be a main point in the story. Frankly I'm waiting to see almost anything happen when it comes to adult, traumitizing, romantic, or... really any situation.